Tag Archives: Weekly update

*Shrugs* Week

4 Apr

How sometimes, when you are travelling and you fall asleep, you wake up with a start to realize you have crossed so much distance and time had evaporated. It feels surreal and imagined. That is how my week went by me. It happens, when you are in too much of comfort that you stop thinking. I realize now while I write this post, that because I stopped thinking, life doesn’t seem like a struggle anymore. But for that matter, life doesn’t seem anything.  A Frame (of time and mind) devoid of any feeling and emotion and just passing by  like a rivulet flowing when it had rained torrents  the other night. I also realized since I didn’t feel neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction, I had nothing to crib about. Nothing to crib about meant, you are automatically happy, no?

Now from my rant, you can pretty much make out how thoroughly useless I have been this entire week.

With the exception of this, I have done nothing else but watch the Cricket World Cup, eat tonnes of maggi and be on twitter, like my life depended on it.  I spend the insane amount of time on my laptop that my father almost believes that I can play the harmonium.  He refuses to believe that it is all for job hunt. Darn! he is always right.

Also, this World Cup matches have ensured that my husband and I have very little communication. Only when India wins we softly congratulate each other over the phone. That must change. We are breaking all the rules of a long distance relationship.   If our past experiences of staying apart have to be taken into account, we are very very very very bad at being good to each other. This is mostly because, both of us are totally uncomfortable phone users. Chatting does help at times but mostly the Internet – God ensures that by the time we have only finished exchanging pleasantries, the connection conks off. I might have conducted a video chat with innumerable friends, a zillion times but in the last two weeks, my husband has managed to see me and my daughter for a few measly seconds. So that is how things are. No, I am not complaining. We are used to this, and we have accepted it too. It helps keeping tempers from flaring, you know.

My daughter is probably the most unpredictable toddler ever. I was expecting her to show some signs of separation anxiety or the likes towards me. But it seems she is showing such anxieties only towards my father. But it is the sweetest sight ever to see her huddled up and going to sleep when my father’s taking his afternoon nap. When I insist she do the same with me, she never obliges. Mothers are not supposed to be treated like that!! But because she spends more time with him and lesser and lesser time with me, she has learnt to mouth a few words in malayalam.

My mum would be taking voluntary retirement towards the end of this month and is looking forward to spending more time with Mimi. She is more enthusiastic about my food blogging than anybody else I know. She helps me select props for the photographs and constantly pushes me to do better. Since the time I sent my Chatti Pathiri entry to the Kerala Kitchen community, she has been following up with me about when the round up on the same was going to happen. She has always been like this. Very competitive and always wanting to do the best she can. I think I get that  quality from her 🙂

Finally, some action did happen towards the end of the week. One of them was, we  ( India) won the cricket world cup and I showed some emotion akin to what looked like tears in my eyes. Unfortunately I had zero avenues to  get drunk and enjoy, so I had to be content with tweeting with drunk people. Also, on Sunday, we ( my parents, my daughter and I) took a trip to my grandmas’ home. She lives in a village and it takes about 5 hours travel by car to get there. The serpentine roads make sure that by the time I reach there, I have no energy or excitement left to enjoy the few hours that I get to spend with her and my cousins, aunts, nieces and nephews. By the time, I am feeling upbeat, it is time to head back and to feel wretched again. In between my usually jolly daughter vomitted and by the time she reached home, she was exhausted and cranky. In fact when she stepped inside the house, she actually heaved a sigh of relief which sounded a lot like “phew”. Then she shrugged and got on with what she does at home, that is, making  a mess.

So each time something emotion-worthy happened, I caught myself shrugging like I didn’t care. This isn’t like me at all. I don’t shrug, I don’t usually let go. I hope I get my mojo back on this week since there are a lot of exciting things waiting to happen. It even hurts my fingers to type exciting which is mostly because Mimi has plucked some important vowel keys from my laptop keypad.

Well *shrugs* again.

The Holiday Week

26 Mar

Life couldn’t get better than this. As I wake up ( at whatever time I please), I get a whiff of freshly ground coconut chutney tempering and filtered coffee. Yes, I am in heaven or somewhere close, that I call my mum’s home. Breakfast is always ready, bed always made, clothes already washed & folded and dishes do the themselves ( well a maid does them).  However hard I try, I don’t seem to be waking up to help my mum or she seems to be done with it before the cock-a-doodle crows. Life is bliss right now, as I look out of the bedroom window and see a red cow grazing in bucolic grace. Our flat is surrounded by lush paddy fields. The cool breeze, the dancing rice saplings and the herons flying off in the horizon are the sights that welcome me each day. I could sit here forever and find inspiration to type away on my keyboard. All that restlessness is fading away and I feel every inch of me relaxing in a way, I haven’t for a long long time.

Until… my daughter sneaks up from one side and switches off the power button on the laptop. Grrrr…

Well that’s the real life. My life.

For weekly update, there hasn’t much happened to quote and note. Each day seamlessly blending into the other before I look up notice. I haven’t even decided on how long I am going to stay put ( my idea is forever but I am sure my parents may think it unreasonable :-)) here in Cochin. Before my hubby left for Bahrain ( he left because his office reopened and he was summoned immediately), we had a chance to cruise around the by lanes of Fort Kochi. An unappetising place, to say the least. We also happened to sample a lot baked delights from the local bakers. K. R. Bakes, Cochin Bakeries, Bread World to name a few. Though am not sure about the star quality of ingredients used, the cup cakes and the meat puffs were delectable. Through Bread World, I also stumbled upon their gourmet super market that sells cooking chocolate and fleur de sel. A pleasant surprise indeed. I stocked up on butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, cooking chocolate, food colour, ricotta cheese and all that.  My only glitch in this excitement is that my mum doesn’t have an oven. But as she is pretty upbeat about this whole food blogging thing, we have geared up to take up some challenges. Watch this space for some delectable  Kerala delicacies! We did indulge in one such staple snack that you can catch up with here.

Apart from the gourmet hoarding, I chanced upon a Betty Crocker Mix of the Devil’s Food Cake that I made for Namit’s Birthday. I wanted to see if I was close to the original or not. Also, it would be an experiment – first of its kind for me – to make the cake in the microwave. Well it turned out quite okay but was extremely rich after I slathered the decadent dessert with plenty of chocolate glaze.

Rest of time I spent being on twitter, watching the Cricket World Cup  (especially the India Vs Australia match) and reading some books I ordered through Flipkart. I flipped ( literally) with joy when the courier guy rapped at my door to do the delivery. Books ( affordable ones) are so hard to come by in Bahrain and for me a service like FlipKart is a blessing. I ordered for, not surprisingly, “Julie & Julia” -by Julie Powell,  “How to be a Domestic Goddess” by Nigella Lawson, “Women & the Weight Loss Tamasha” – by Rujuta Diwekar, “Cake decoration for Beginners” – by some publisher. Once  I am done with them or any of them, I shall post a two liner review about it. I still  have some more books to order but my purse strings have been tightened by my conscientious hubby. 😦 I know eventually he will come around. 🙂

Being here in Cochin has its own perks because my daughter has found her own toddler community in the building and spends absolutely no time indoors. I hardly get to see her as she is running out to play with her mates or even by herself. She ignores my existence until she feels hungry or sleepy. I am not complaining!

In other efforts to keep myself busy, I tried to enroll into a driving school but due to some paperwork and the  likes, it did not work out. I have to figure another way out. Also, I am trying to enroll myself with a pastry making course  in Kochi and that too hasn’t met with any success. If anybody can give me any leads, I shall be most grateful.

Finally, I want Amit to know that I miss him very much ( he would blushing to his temples by now) and such a public declaration of my affection would send him to his shell instantly. I also miss my dear friend Namit and all the wonderful weekends we spent doing restaurant reviews, dinners, and sight seeing ( by now Namit would be a deep shade of crimson, slowly turning purple and shades alike). I am sure Mimi misses you both, but right now she is a tad busy doing her stuff. Also, Gayathri, I miss our chats. Somehow, since the time I have come here, we haven’t had the time to connect properly. Hoping that it would be better over the coming days.

Because I miss seeing both of you together

The Revelation of a Week

18 Mar

* I have combined the happenings of the last week and the current week in a single post. So much has happened and somehow in my mind, I cannot make a distinction about when the previous week ended and the current set pace.

The past week (6th -12th March)

The weather here is Bahrain is changing rapidly. The nip in the air has disappeared and it is getting warmer by the day. You can tell from the way, the flies buzz around and the people have a  skip in their step. Spring is upon this part of the world but it is unlike any spring season I have ever seen. There are no flowers blooming, no humming birds singing, and no larks chirping. In this part of the world, Spring is ushered in by a Spring Cultural Festival which stands cancelled due to the current political and sectarian problems that plague this tiny pearl of a country. Spring is here, and I know because, people have shaken their ennui of the desert-winter and decided to attach more furore to their askings from the their Government.

The week was not as clueless like the last. My mind was occupied with plenty. It was Namit’s birthday on the 9th of March and I took a lot of time to decided which cake I was supposed to bake. Finally I had to choose from the Caramel Cake and the Devil’s Food Cake. I flipped a coin to decide and Devil’s Food Cake won. So most of the week I was consumed by the preparation of this cake. The recipe is as follows:

Devil’s Food Cake

as adapted from David Lebovitz This dark glistening cake is a mean feat considering I did not follow the instruction to the tee.  I did not have 2 spring form cake tins as instructed in the recipe.  I made it in a single one and then cut the cake into half to make it a layered cake. The chocolate ganache is the literally the icing on the cake. It is the ganache that pushes the cake to the next level. But it was a joy to bake this one and I had my fingers crossed all the while. When I finished it, I knew I had a winner in my hands. My effort paid off when Namit enjoyed a huge piece of the cake and demanded to take all of it home.


For the cake:
9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups cake flour*( don’t worry if you do not have cake flour on you. I did not too. I made it like this)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup strong coffee (or water)
½ cup whole or low-fat milk
For the ganache frosting:
10 ounces or 285 grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup water (or cream)
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1. Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter two 9″ x 2″ cake pans and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper.
3. To make the cake layers, sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
4. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. (If using a standing electric mixer, stop the mixer as necessary to scrape down the sides to be sure everything is getting mixed in.)
5. Mix together the coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.
6. Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.( Alternately, what I did was to make a single cake and then cut it in the middle to make it into two layers)
7. To make the frosting/ganache, melt the chopped chocolate with the water (or cream) in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.
8. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk them into the chocolate until completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Cool until spreadable, which may take about 1 hour at room temperature.
To frost the cake: Tilt cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper from the bottom and invert it back onto a cake plate. Cut the cake into two with a large knife carefully.  Spread a good-sized layer of icing over the top. Top with the second cake layer and spread the top and sides with the remaining icing as decoratively as you want.
I also used chocolate sprinkles and dark chocolate shavings to give it the final touch. The cake looked divine when all the candles were lit. Stunning without a doubt.
I would highly recommend this cake if you are thinking of baking a birthday cake. It is chocolate heaven for serious chocoholics.
We were such a happy lot on Namit’s birthday and spent so much time trying to figure out what all we can do together over the weekend. We came up suggestions like going to the traditional Souq market and doing an indepth research on what produce is sold there so that we get to know the culture even better. I was to come back and write about it on my blog. We also decided on watching some movies like we did the previous week. So far we completed a movie marathon of Anjana Anjaani, Band Baja Baraat and Aisha. Band Baja Baraat was a fun movie and I realized I missed Delhi more than ever. We also watched Phass Gaye Obama which is a rib tickling comedy and I laughed the whole time over home popped pop corn and onion rings. It is one of the better movies that has been cleverly made but put down my poor production value. I cannot say anymore about production value as it is something I stole from the discussion that my hubby was having with our friend, Namit. 🙂
The current week (13th – 19th March)
* I had typed a whole lot of emotional stuff under this note but for some reason it all got erased. I tried to retrieve it desperately but couldn’t. Maybe it was not meant to be out there. I felt drained after the emotional out pour and decided to scrap the post itself. But my hubby asked me keep it and said he will write the current week section for me. I was too upset and shrugged to his proposal. But he kept his word and the extract below has been written by my hubby.
The week started on a surprising note. On Sunday morning after late night viewing of Avataar (the series) Amit  received call from Namit informing him about the unrest. Protesters who had been protesting across the road from Amit’s office have decided to come “on-road” and stop all the traffic. With Ofiice literally out of bound there was no choice but to stay put at home and enjoy the remaining episodes of Avataar.
Feeling – Holiday Yipee!!!
Monday – No improvement in the situation. The protester were staying put in their position and even when police force tried but they did not budge. TV stations were playing in loop the confrontation between protesters and police. Twitter world was buzzing with tweets of claims and counter-claim. Amit was busy checking with colleagues and friends about the situation and also some cricket gossip thrown in good measure. With No Avataar to watch ( we completed viewing all episodes) a sense of being trapped in the house overcame us. However with maid and cook arriving and super market open gave the feeling of life in normal mode.The only surreal part was lack of cars on the roads.
Feeling – Holiday Yawn!!!
Tuesday- The day of great political moves.
With govt declaring an 3 month martial law/national emergency along with arrival of forces from neighboring countries made it clear to us that situation has gone from bad to worse. We kept oscillating between staying-put and flee options. The roads were deserted and the whole place was giving an eerie feeling. The supermarket was closed for  a brief period but still no matter of concern. Then we heard  a small arm fire and teargas shell being lobbed just 100 meter from our house. That was too close for comfort . With teargas slowly wafting through our window our decision was made. It was time to pack bags. Hastily tickets were scrounged and concerned people were informed. The major concern that day – “how will we reach  the airport”?
Feeling – Mild concern!!!
Wednesday- Overslept and got up to find the mobile network was down. Alarmingly checked internet , but thank God it was working, albeit slowly. We received an email from Amit’s colleague stating that he had reached the airport, first in the morning. He was supposed to travel to the  airport with us and that kind of left us in a lurch. Nobody knew if the route to airport was open and how long it will remain open. The luxury of get-up-and-leave is not available to people with kids. Kids arent much concerned with the polictical situation but they can create their own situation far worse than political one , if not peoperly planned for. All moms will agree travelling with kids need meticulous planning , you need to plan for their feeding, sleeping, changing and entertainment needs. All these needs meant that we could not leave in a huff but the phone kept ringing. Concerned Parents from either side, Colleagues who had already reached airport , Friends planning to join for the trip to airport & Arrangement for transport further complicated the issue. All this, in addition to the minor  anxiety of the possibility that we might be offloaded at the last moment, if the airlines decided there were too many people.  Finally at 2pm the packing was completed and transport arrived and we left for airport ( still 6 hours before our flight). The streets were deserted although traffic lights were working.
Then came the roadblock.
With exposure to so many Hollywood movies we thought we have seen  all kind of weapons and guns. However the actual sight of an M113 Armoured personal Carrier(APC) with the lead gun man pointing a gun towards you gives you a chill. This as the first time I’d seen a gun pointed towards me ( though I knew it was a general direction) and I can say I just stopped short of giving a peace sign to him with atleast one of my finger refusing to give the support and I ended up with a finger salute. Men with fingers on gun trigger are not supposed to have good humour and I was in no mood to test that hypothesis.
Fact of the matter,  we were waived off and after some unnecessary diversion  reached the airport. After that point the sense of relief was over-powering and the only thing capable of ruining the feeling was the customer service of our airline.
Due to travel warnings there was mad rush at airport with smart alecs checking in for flight 24 hours ahead. Due to such smart people airport was teeming with people and airport resembled ISBT Delhi on a lean day.
Now we are safe and typing this post from comfort of my mum’s home. I am glad we took the decision to fly back as soon as possible. Still sitting here, my mind keeps going back to the protestors and the families of the deceased. All I can pray for is that better sense prevails and peace is restored.
Further plans have been suspended for a while till the situation abates.

Clueless Week

11 Mar

I have spent several afternoons trying to pen this weekly update.  The words did not come out. I am at a loss here and have had to resort to distraction. But to tell you the truth, distraction does little to help recall the events of  last week.  I tried to think of ways to remember such as using Mind Maps by Tony Buzan (Thank you , Namit) but nothing.

Such acute amnesia can only mean that there was nothing to report about over here. Also, the situation is, with the current week going south and my previous week’s update remaining unfinished, I had to offload it somehow.

So I am going to write about how each of us ( Mims, Amit and  me) spent the week.

Mims – She’s been hooked on to the nursery rhyme dvd and keeps watching it in loops. She dances to it and  claps her hands in glee. That reminds me, she also likes the Glee Series on FOX and tries to follow their routine. A cute a sight, really. As far as vocab is concerned, she hasn’t been all that  inventive. One addition to her vocab is Anu. Yea, my name. She calls me by my name now. My heart melts at the sound of it and my guess is she has picked it up from all the times Amit calls out my name. But Mims goes, “A-nooooo, A-nooooooo”. Every word out of  her mouth is a celebration. I feel like baking a cake or atleast a cup cake for that joy. An over indulgent mum, you may say. But far from it, I see myself getting angry with her at the slightest of misdemeanour. I keep promising that I would bite my tongue as soon as angry words threaten to spill out.

She has also found sanctuary in action and puts no effort to learn any new words. If she wants something, she points out her tiny finger at it and says “Mimi , Mimi” which is a sure indication that she wants it right this instant. She points a finger at her mouth or runs to kitchen, each time her stomach growls for food, she even operates the dvd player to play her favourite nursery rhyme dvd.  Sometimes for sheer impish pleasure she calls out to Amit and says “Fa -Fa”. Amit is floored with that mispronunciation too. We shopped for some really pretty summer dresses for her and new shoes too. Her old shoes ( really cute ones) are tad too small. A sign that my daughter is growing or atleast her feet are!

Amit – There is very little that I have attempted to write about him First because he feels too self conscious and asks me specifically not to put his photographs or mention him. But I still do, because he is a biggest slice of my life  and my life has revolved around him. He thinks otherwise, but what’s important is, I think it does. He is a homebody and is most comfortable in the company of his family. He hates venturing out until it is absolutely necessary. He does so more than often because, I like going out. As a person, he is extremely reserved but for appearance sake he may come across as being extremely gregarious. He is the happiest with a book in his hand or surfing the internet for historical fact-finding. He is attached to his past and forgets nothing. I can go on and on but he would be very upset with this transgression. The past week has been all cricket and the World Cup for him. Work has kept him busy and the rest of the time he spends on cricinfo. He comes home and demands a family hug from us like the Teletubbies lot. He also critiques all my baking efforts and minces no words if they aren’t unto his high standards. Before sleeping, due to the dearth of books, he prefers to watch super hero animation movies. Currently he is hooked on to the Avataar Series which is about the The Last Airbender. I have to admit, this one is really addictive.

Me/ A-Nooo – I haven’t had the easiest week. Mentally it was the most confusing and frustrating. Job hunt has been like a wild goose chase and has been giving me some sleepless nights.  While I search for a job, I constantly debate about going back to the corporate world. I know in my heart, it is not the kind of work I enjoyed. I would like to be involved in something more creative. That being said, I have  had all my work experience with a single company. Would it be wise to base my decision on such a small sample size? All these questions would be answered with time, I know. But I feel my time is running out and a clock is constantly ticking inside. Do any of you feel like this??

When I feel like I am stuck in a quagmire, I channel my energy towards writing, baking and running. That brings me to some level of peace  but then the basic questions remain unanswered, so the vicious cycle continues.

But my baking efforts have been spectacular. I surprise myself because I was a non -baker once and to come out with such tantalizing treats shocks the day lights out of me also. No no, I am not being immodest. Really.

Over the weekend, we invited Namit, for a pao bhaji treat. This is my favourite Indian street food and if it was possible and if the calories didn’t count, I would have eaten it every single day. Considering it is fairly easy to make and makes for a tantalizing a snack, it wouldn’t be wrong to guess that it would be made in almost every North & West Indian home.  It is still to catch up in many parts of south India, while I am no position to comment upon how Pao Bhaji is percieved in the east.

The recipe  for Pao Bhaji ( Bread and spicy vegetable mash) goes like this:


2 large Potatoes ( boiled and mashed; skin peeled)

2 large onions

2-3 Tomatoes

1-2 Capsicum

half cup of green peas

1 cup of cauliflower florets

1 large brinjal

1-2 medium sized carrots

Pao Bhaji Masala – I use the Everest Brand*

200 gms of Amul Butter or any butter will do. Salt variety tastes better.

Salt to taste

Lemon Juice

Coriander leaves for garnish

Chopped onions ( separate from the above mentioned onions) for garnish

Garlic & Ginger paste (optional)

Note * – If you do not have pao bhaji masala, you could use, a combination of coriander powder, Amchur powder ( mango powder), red chilli powder, garam masala, cumin powder


Boil/pressure cook all the vegetables except onions and tomatoes and keep aside. Boil, skin and mash the potatoes separate from other vegetables.

Chop onions and tomatoes and keep aside.

In a large pan, heat some oil and fry the onions first. When they turn pink and translucent, add tomatoes. Let them fry for a while and keep stirring with a  spatula. Then add the mashed potatoes and mix thoroughly. Let it fry for a while. At this stage, you can add the garlic ginger paste.

Meanwhile, try mashing the boiled vegetables as much as possible and then add it to the potato mash mix in the cooking pan. Mix thoroughly while mashing all the same. Make it as homogenous as possible. Add 100 gm of butter first.

Now add the Pao Bhaji masala or alternately the mix of masalas mentioned in the note. Mix well.

Let the vegetable mash cook well in the masala. Add salt to taste. When the oil starts leaving towards the sides of the pan, take the pan off the fire.

The remaining 100 gm of butter could be used for grilling the bread and for topping the bhaji ( vegetable mash). More the butter, the better it tastes. Obviously.

While you plate up the bhaji and the pao, you could give the bhaji a squeeze of lemon juice and top it with chopped onions and coriander leaves.

Thats about it. Now have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, because, that’s how I enjoyed it.

My baking venture of the  week was Lemon and Blueberry Banana Bread and with vanilla custard.  The banana bread encrusted with juicy blue berries was well recieved and with vanilla custard it was a surely a trip to heaven and back.

Lemon & BlueBerry Banana Bread

Banana bread is by far one of the easiest baking expeditions, I have undertaken. But gratifying none the less. A far cry from the usual chocolate and strawberry, it calls for the comfort and the warmth of bread with almost cake like consistency but none of the fan-fare attached. The Blueberries give the burst of juice in parts over the mellow  taste of the bananas.

The Recipe for Lemon Blueberry Banana Bread

Yield: One loaf

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

3 medium ripe to overripe bananas

zest and juice of one large lemon

1/2 cup butter

3/4 brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries*

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup pastry flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay bananas (skin still intact) on a baking sheet and throw them in there for about 15 minutes. When done, remove the bananas from oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven down to 350°F.

2. While the bananas are roasting, grease an 8 x 4 loaf pan very well.

3. Now we are going to brown the butter for maximum flavour enhancement. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat and continue to heat until it begins to foam up. Don’t stir it, instead swirling it as it foams. Once the foam dies down and begins to take on a rich brown colour, remove it from the heat. Set aside.

4. Peel the bananas by cutting a slit in them and gently squeezing them into a bowl, they should come right out without a fight. Mash them up with the lemon juice and zest.

5. Stir in the browned butter, sugar, vanilla and buttermilk. Gently fold in the blueberries.

6. In a separate bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add to wet and combine, but do not overmix!

7. Immediately pour the batter into the greased pan and pop it into the oven for about 60 minutes. When done (toothpick comes out clean), remove from oven and set on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes before turning it out to cool completely.

Consuming all these goodies is negating my work out effect. But I am keeping at it like an indefatigable warrior. Now I am looking to cut back a little on baking for a few days and try some new dinner and lunch recipes especially Kerala style food.

I am participating in the Kerala Kitchen challenge hosted by http://magpiesrecipes.blogspot.com/p/keralakitchen.html and am proud to have already submitted an entry of Pathiri and tomato curry to the same. What this will ensure is, that I get to learn and try new Kerala recipes. So kudos to that!!

A Week in Pictures

1 Mar

Sunday’s Sanctuary

Monday’s Memories

Tuesday’s  Tales

Wednesday’s Window

Thursday’s Thumbprints

Friday’s Friendship

Saturday’s Socialite

A Disturbed Week

21 Feb

I didn’t know that I would write my weekly update so soon. Usually I take my time.

It hasn’t been one of the fairy-airy weeks here in Bahrain. Plenty has changed.

The climate. The mood. The temperament.

Let me begin from the time when I had to explain to people, where I was moving to, when it was difficult for me to clearly point out where Bahrain is in the map of the world and when it seemed like the laid-back place to raise your family.

It has been 9 months living here. I have my own opinion about how much I like this place. But personal views apart, I know it is a lovely place for people who would love a smooth life. It is a community that is modern in its own right while being firmly attached to its culture. They are more tolerant than any other community that I have lived amongst and they love children. That is how I have come to understand the people of this country. I am most impressed with the women who are well spoken and know their stuff.

Winds of Change have been knocking for a while now. Literally. The climate in the past 9 months has been radical. I think, nature senses a revolution before it takes root in people’s minds. It has been windy ( no surprise), dusty( no surprise, again), but it has rained, rained for days ( thats really surprising). The cold wave has hung around more than it has ever in the history of this country. There were signs, I feel. Not all was alright. Continue reading

Epitome of a Week

18 Feb

A high octane week.

Much like the last.

After this, I am going to take a breather.

Sunday, like I have mentioned time and again is the first day of week, here in Bahrain. I had a Writer’s Club meeting to go to. It was the first of it’s kind in Bahrain. This was hosted by one of UK’s leading authors Robin Barratt. He now lives permanently in Bahrain. So he has spear headed this movement to gather all the established and aspiring writers/ poets/bloggers to come and share ideas, conduct and participate in work shops etc. It was an honour to meet so many authors, childrens’ book authors, a professional chef who has written 12 best selling books and many like me too who aspire to get something published. From my perspective, I was more interested in just learning and interacting, so I went.

It was hosted in one of the leading hotel conference rooms and there was an whiff of erudition in the air. I felt absolutely like a fish out of water. Anyways, I sat there, twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the evening to roll. More and more people poured in and I was amazed as to there were so many expats – Americans, English, Australians, Iranians, Indians, Pakistanis- who shared the singular passion of the written word. There were publishers of successful magazines (Bahrain) and some coffee table book publishers too.

Just took down some notes. In order to get your book published the basics that you HAVE to have in place;

1. A good one- two page synopsis of your story
2. A strong bio about self
3. First 3 chapters – Perfect Chapters. – though there was a debate about this being different for Fiction and non Fiction. Fiction demands the whole book material to be ready and sent at one go.

So the evening progressed and the writing project for the next month’s meeting was decided as “Pearls”. So the part of the Club agenda would be get people to write ( absolutely optional). So in the next month meeting the best script/draft on “Pearls” would be read and marked for publication. At the end of the year all such interesting write ups would be collected and published as a short story collection under BWC (Bahrain Writers’ Club). So I think its a good opportunity and I will try my best that my story would get selected for this.

I also met up with some magazine editors – FACT Magazine Bahrain- is the leading magazine here and quite happening one too. I had written to them earlier attaching a sample of my restaurant review but nobody responded. But this time, I had him cornered and he agreed to take a look at it for sure. I asked him to me some constructive feedback to improve incase it isn’t worth publishing. I am yet to hear from him! Hmmmpppfff.

This was where I met Aaron – the professional pastry chef and the related you can read here

So that is how my evening turned from being skeptical to out right amazing.

Every atom of my being was buzzing for the next couple of days. Isn’t it normal to feel like this? After days of nothing happening, suddenly there was so much to do. I had a lot on mind including searching for job, wherein I haven’t made any breakthrough. I didn’t realized as the week just rolled on.

I had a dinner to plan for and I hadn’t done anything yet. I had too many things going on in the background. In between I even baked some chai spice cupcakes and cakes.

Meanwhile, Vanessa Kimbell has mentioned me on her blog for having tested her Cookies. Thank you Vanessa!


Now jumping straight to the Dinner plan. I had planned an Italian – Continental fare and again it was the first time I was trying most of the stuff.

I had planned for the Classic Macaroni and Cheese, Vegetarian Pizza, home made parsley hummus with cream crackers, vegetable pulao and Gujarati Kadhi. For dessert, I made a no bake, eggless Strawberry Cheese cake with white chocolate sauce. Since I had to plan for strict vegetarians – Brahmins, it was a challenge, especially for the dessert. Without egg, it was practically impossible. Or so I thought. But I found this amazing Strawberry Cheese cake recipe which required no eggs and didn’t need any baking too, I jumped at it.  I was pretty confident about the macaroni and cheese but was anxious about the Pizza. I haven’t ever made a pizza before and to bake it from scratch was something I desired to attempt for a long time.  So this was my chance.

Parsley Hummus

Strawberry Cheesecake

The Dinner happened and most of things turned out as planned except that the Pizza had too thick a base and mac n cheese was tad dry. All feedback has been duly noted to be worked upon at the next given opportunity. Cheese cake was the toast of the evening! Yipee. It had set perfectly and with the white chocolate sauce it was simply yum. I am sure Gayathri would agree. So yes, it was my friend Gayathri and her family, whom I had invited over for dinner.

Mac and Cheese

pizza n pulao

By the end of it all, I was extremely tired and wanted to put up my feet and rest. The next day, I woke up at 11 a.m. !!! Wonder what professional chefs go through after each evening of gruelling cooking sessions. I decided that the next week I would keep event free. Little did I know that this tiny country was brewing a revolution. More about this in my next weekly update.

Here’s a piece of the lovely cheesecake with some white chocolate sauce for all of you!

Happy Valentines!!

%d bloggers like this: